Arianna's Blog

Come listen to the ramblings and assorted babblings of a crazed mother and newbie author. It might not always be helpful, but it should be amusing.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Ahhh, the big yellow school bus rolled up to my driveway this morning and I almost sang with joy. I swear, there was a choir of angels in full chorus as that bus rumbled away with my little darlings.

It's amazing how very much you can get accomplished without two of your three children fighting and bickering and asking for food every ten seconds.


Granted, it won't be much, but dear God it will feel good to accomplish something. My summer writing went something like this. . .

Ari--sits at computer and puts on headphones to drown out background noise
two seconds later
Child 1--Mommy, whatcha doin"
Ari--trying to get a little work done. Just give me half an hour.
Child 1--okay mommy, but first, can I call Emily.
Ari--sure, but don't make any playdates until this afternoon, I need to work.
Child 1--okay!
thirty seconds later
Child 1-- Mom!
Ari--Honey, I'm trying to work
Child 1--I know, but Emily wants to know if she can come over and go swimming now. I know you said this afternoon but she has to go to the dentist this afternoon so can she come over now? Can she?
Ari--no, honey, Mommy is working and I can't watch you in the pool from here. Maybe tomorrow.
Child--but mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (five minutes of whining crying and pleading)
Ari--What was my answer?
Child 1--Fine!
30 seconds later
child 2-- What's wrong with child 1? She's screaming in her room.
Ari--she's just upset. Mommy's working now, do you think you could watch a movie for a little while?
Child 2-- okay, can I have something to eat/drink?
Ari--yes, but eat it in the kitchen
Child 2-- can I eat it in my bedroom if I'm really careful?
Child 2--the playroom?
Child 2--the living room?
Ari-the kitchen only or no snack.
Child 2--fine
2 minutes later
Child 3--mommy, child 1/2 is being mean to me.
Ari--why don't you play somewhere else so mommy can work for a little while. If you let mommy work, I'll take you to the park this afternoon.
Child 3--okay, but can I have a snack first? You let child2 have a snack and I want one too
Ari--of course, just eat it in the kitchen
Child 3--but child 2 is eating it in your room!

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I swear it's a miracle I don't have to be locked in a padded cell by the end of the summer. . .

So oh yes, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Screw Christmas, the first day of school is hands down the winner!!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Talk about incentive

My husband and I had a "discussion" the other day. In his mind, as soon as our 4 year old goes to school full time (1st grade, here in the land of half-day kindergarten) I should start pounding the pavement looking for a full time teaching job.

He thinks that if I'm teaching during the day, I'll still have time to write at night and then we'll have money to put away for the children's college, weddings, and our retirement.

To that I said...

Are you smoking crack?

To begin with, even if all three are in school full time, that doesn't mean there won't be sick days, teacher workshop days, half-days, and school holidays where they will be home and I will need to find child care for them. That doesn't include when they have plays and concerts and other things they want mommy to see during the day. As a teacher, it's VERY hard to get personal time other than sick days.

Not only would I miss out on many of the things my kids do during the day, I'd also have to make sure none of my meetings, inservices, teacher conferences etc. ran overtime because I'd have to rush home to get them to soccer, dance, CCD etc.

Then there is the planning, correcting, and reports I'd have to do at home, because a good 50% of a teacher's work is done out of school.

So, I'd have to get up, get three kids ready for school, and myself, work a full day, rush home to take the kids hither and yon, make dinner, help with homework, AND then do my take-home work. Somewhere in there I'd have to clean the house, do the laundry, go grocery shopping, help with school projects, buy birthday presents, plan birthday/soccer/school parties and take the kids, the dog and the cat to their various doctor/dentist appointments.

And then, at midnight, I could work on my writing.

Is it just me who thinks this is a little overwhelming?

I know there are mothers who do this, and I bow down to their amazing abilities. I mean, some of these women have seriously high power jobs such as lawyers and doctors. I fully admit, they are better women than I could ever hope to be. Just the thought of working full time and trying to still write gives me chest pains.

So, if I want to continue to pursue my writing career, I'm going to have to get my act in gear. Quite frankly, I'm now under a very tight deadline to actually make some money writing. I'm not talking millions, but I can no longer take loses every year. I'm not sure if this is going to spur me on to greater heights or just get me so uptight I explode.

I'm kind of betting on the latter actually. . .

Anyway, you've heard it here first. I have two years to "do something" (my husband's words) with my writing or it will be pushed to the bottom of the priority list.

I'll keep you posted. . .

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'd like to thank the academy. . .


BEHIND THE ENCHANTED DOOR won an Ecataromance Reviewers' Choice Award.

I'm still in shock. I've never won an award for ANYTHING. Ever. I've always been the B student and the second or third place athlete. The closest thing to an award I've ever received has been a publishing contract, which trust me was also a huge shock and a joy.

DOOR was a very special book to me. Besides having to do with fairies, which I love love love, it was a book that I fell in love with instantly. I agonized over every comment from my cp and editor. I cried when I got the cover and it wasn't what I had in mind. I fretted when it went out to reviewers. This was like my baby going to school for the first time and I was terrified people wouldn't like it as much as I did.

This award means that I wasn't completely insane (notice I say completely) and that it was a good book. Maybe I shouldn't need to have that sort of reassurance, but I do. I freely admit when it comes to my writing I'm hopelessly insecure.

My friends will tell you that's no lie. I drove them all CRAZY while writing this. Emailing them chapters with neurotic pleas for opinions. I was a mess.

So, in Grammy Awards fashion, I'd like to thank some people:

For talking me off the ledge without throwing me over it when I was a lunatic:
Lori Armstrong
Leigh Wyndfield
Jewell Mason
Kathy Love
Kate Rothwell
Kris Starr

Cheyenne McCray for giving me a book quote. By God I hope this sucker goes to print so I can use it!

Dorine Linnen and Angie Waters for promoting it and letting others know about it. Thanks for letting me avoid the ever hated promotion.

Briana St. James, editor to the neurotic

Titania Ladley,who critiqued the first part and let me know where I was going wrong without pushing me off the ledge

And as always, my family for giving me the space to write this book, eating fishsticks and tater tots for supper, and watching A LOT of Disney movies.

I'm sure there are more folks that I should thank, but my caffeine-deprived mind can't think of them all right now.

Thank you my friends and thank you ecataromance for giving me a most precious gift.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Feeling Sassy!

Okay, this is seriously frustrating. I'm uploading pictures to blogger but they aren't showing up in my blog. This is rather annoying because I just got my hair cut. BIG TIME. I took ten inches off and will be mailing them into Locks of Love next week.

I got the idea from my sister who did it, and I decided as soon as the RWA conference was over I was going to do it. I now have hair above my shoulders for the first time in twenty years.

IT FEELS GREAT! I know part of it is because I had someone fussing over me for hours so I feel pampered and pretty, but part of it is also because I feel like I'm doing some good for someone else. My hair will grow back. And you know what? I might just cut it again when it gets long enough.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

p.s. I tried to get the pictures to work again and they didn't show. If you really want to see them, I've uploaded them into the photos section of my yahoo group. Friendsofari

If you're not a member, you can join by sending a blank email to the link on my website You can join special notices so you won't have to hear me natter on and on when something cool happens, but by joining you get to hear all the good dirt first. . .

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I just got the cover for my next Samhain book SURPRISE. This is a re-release but it's going to be SO VERY DIFFERENT than the original.

Let me 'splain. . .

I started writing SURPRISE when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I was trapped at home with a 3 year old and a 2 year old. I'd run out of books that I hadn't read a million times and my head was going to explode, so I started writing.

Time passed, baby Shannon was born and I didn't do much with the story, like so many of my other books that I'd started, it just languished in my documents folder waiting to be finished. I'd sit down and write a little more when I got bored or when inspiration hit me, but it just kind of was there in the background. Until my husband challenged me to finish it.

So I did.
Then he dared me to do something with it.
So I queried Sillouette Intimate Moments, who actually requested it. Wow!

I cleaned it up (Ha!) and sent the whole manuscript in. Two months later they sent it back to me. Thanks but no thanks.

I was crushed. I decided my writing career was over. I sucked.
Several of my friends kicked my butt and the next thing I know, I'm writing erotica and submitting again.

Surprise sat in a corner, begging for another chance. Finally I sent it in to Triskelion who put it out in January of 2004, a little over a year from when it had been rejected.

Now that I have a little more writing under my belt, I've gone back into the book and could see EXACTLY why it got both rejected and accepted. It was rejected because there were so many first time writer mistakes in there it should have been in a "How not to write a book for publication" manual.

But I can see why it got accepted from a smaller company, because it has a tiny, tiny, kernal of hope in it. There is a good story mixed in with all the mistakes. Now that I've had some time to grow, I'm hoping I can take that tiny shred of good story and clear away the crap from it to make it an even better story.

My hope is that someone reading it for the second time will be pleasantly surprised, and someone reading it for the first time won't be disappointed.

I'm also hoping my editor won't attempt to strangle me when she sees it. . .

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Home again

The National conference is over, and now I'm back to blogging about my boring life. I guess I can't really call it boring because I'm constantly busy, but I seem to be constantly busy doing mommy things. I've had a lot of company, thrown some parties, entertained in-laws, taken children on day trips, and basically run all over the state of CT since I've been home from Atlanta.

Not exactly the same thing as dancing at the Ritz. . .

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for my waistline and liver, this is my life. I am a mommy first and formost. I imagine my kids will always come first for me, even when the Ari part of me is screaming to get out. I wonder if male writers have these same issues?

Do men worry about balancing their kids and their careers? Do they agonize over every trip, worrying that they're scarring their children for life?

Somehow, I just don't think so. I imagine there are men who do, but I think being neurotic about things lies largely in the female camp. Aren't we lucky????

What do you think? Do you know any male writers who freak about going to conferences? If you do, send them to my blog so I can hear what they have to say!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Take 2

Okay, by putting two pictures in I couldn't post anything, so I'll try again. The following pictures are of Kris Starr and I and Joanne Rock and I at the Rita Awards Ceremony. Unlike last year, this year's ceremony was lighthearted and very funny, and blessedly only two hours long. (Thank you Jesus!)

It was a great night for many of my friends, I was so excited when DIANA LOVE SNELL and STEPHANIE FAEGAN won Ritas I literally jumped out of my seat and screamed. Loud. Twice. I'm sure I annoyed everyone in my general area. I was absolutely thrilled to see two of my good friends win awards with their first books. It was especially exciting for me to see Steph win because when she finaled in the Ritas, someone had the very poor taste to say, on their blog, they couldn't believe her book had finaled.


Linnea Sinclair won a Rita as well, and that was fantastic too as she is an e-pubbed author and it gave me a slight bit of vindication in my petty little heart, hahaha.

After the awards we got a little silly, as is par for the course. By the end of the conference we're all suffering severe sleep deprivation and the bittersweet realization that it might be a year or more before we see each other again.

We had a lot of fun taking silly pictures of our friend Lisa Joy's butt (she had an awesome gown with a really cool back) and Kathy Love and Julie Cohen got silly too. (what a shock) By the time we said our good-byes and good nights, it was after midnight and Kris and I had to head out early the next morning for the airport. This year we didn't stay up all night like last year, which turned out to be a very good idea as 7:00 am came very early the next morning.

I'm hoping to get some more pictures and will hopefully get to post them before the turn of the century. . .

And the winner of the Rita is. . .

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dancing at the Ritz

Thursday was kind of quiet as I did a lot of running to workshops. I got a great deal of information for my next book, which was really exciting. I'm going to create a seriously bad-ass villain, so stay tuned. . .

Friday, on the other hand, was very busy. I went to some more workshops in the morning, then went to the Passionate Ink luncheon in the afternoon. It was held at the Atlanta Aquarium and was absolutely beautiful. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was incredible. Our room had an enormous window that looked out onto the whale tank. It was just stunning.

After lunch we headed to the bar to hang with some friends then I was lucky enough to be a guest at the Harlequin Party at the Ritz Carlton.

Oh my God, but I want to live in the bathroom there! It's easily bigger than my first apartment, and definitely better decorated. It was hot as blazes, but I got to see a number of my friends and dance and dance and dance. I was a sweaty mess by the end of the night, but man alive, did I have fun. Any place that has a chocolate fountain and shots of Bailey's Irish Cream in chocolate cups is A #1 in my book. This year the DJ they hired was fantastic and played a great mix of songs that kept us dancing until 1 am.
I'm very glad I brought my ballet slippers to change into, I just can't handle dancing in heels all night long.

Needless to say, the next morning was very ugly. . .I'll just leave it at that.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have pictures from the Ritas for you!

Monday, August 07, 2006

We interrupt this RWA memoir to vent

I saw an article today that seriously torqued me up. I'm employing great restraint by not placing the link in this blog entry in order to protect the innocent--or should I say ignorant?

First, the article was written by a man--a girly man--who is a reporter for a Florida newspaper. He was sent to cover the RT conference in Daytona. Now, instead of writing an article about the positive things that happened at the conference, like readers connecting with writers and other fans, or charity auctions for the children of Sri Lanka, or supporting the military spouses, the article focused on the racier aspects of the conference.

The writer--and I use that term loosely--went on and on about the sexually titilating panels and the cover model contests and didn't once mention any of the positive things RT did.

To make matters worse, he found a "Historical fiction author, not a romance author" and her mother who were at the conference and the three of them had a great time at the bar picking on the people who paid to attend the conference.

Since I didn't know who the author was, I looked her up on Amazon. She happened to have an RT REVIEW POSTED ON THE AMAZON PAGE!!!
So, she was too good to be considered a romance author, but she was more than willing to glom off the success of romance authors at their ROMANTIC TIMES BOOKLOVERS CONFERENCE.

If she is so much better than we are, why wasn't she going to a Historical writers conference?

Now I understand that my writing won't please everyone. Heck, I know my genre won't please half the people I know, but I don't look down upon fans of other genres. And I especially don't look down upon authors of other genres. It's very hard to write a book. It's even harder to get one published. Anyone who can do that deserves my respect, if not necessarily my hard earned cash. This author, whom I'm very carefully not naming, should be ashamed of herself.

Maybe her words got taken out of context, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, hence my restraint in not flaming her in a public forum or in a private email. Regardless, she was at RT as an author, she sat down and spoke to a reporter and dissed the conference and the conference attendees, employees, and genre. Maybe she didn't mean to sound elitest but she should have been smart enough to be careful what she said around a member of the press.

Tomorrow morning I'll have forgotten not only the author's name, but most of the anger I had at the article. (I have a house full of company so it's not hard for me to forget everything) I'm not ashamed of what I write and I love, love, love the RT conference. I'm proud to be a part of it, and I welcome the opportunity to talk to a PROFESSIONAL journalist who is there to report on the conference, not vent his personal insecurities by lampooning an event that brought many people and dollars into his state.

By the way, I'm not just talking the talk, I'm walking the walk too. I wrote a letter to the editor and gave them permission to print it. We'll see what happens.

Signing with the awesome Kim Harrison

Here I am at the booksigning, Wednesday July 26th. Next to me is the awesomely cool Kim Harrison. She wrote DEAD WITCH WALKING and many other rocking WITCH books. I sat next to her at RT and her line stretched out across our whole row. It was kind of nice because I had a chance to talk to her fans. Also, her husband comes along and he's a huge help getting water and keeping me company while Kim is busy with her legions of fans.

It's kind of intimidating for someone on the lower end of the author food chain to sit near someone who is selling out like gangbusters. I mean, you kind of end up feeling like the opening act at a Rolling Stones concert. Kim was very sweet to me at both signings, and was such a cutie I couldn't even work up a good head of jealousy. And considering she's talented, pretty, and petite, that's saying something about how nice she is.

It probably helps that I like her books too, so I completely understand why she has so many folks clammoring for her signature. What really impressed me was, she didn't seem to take it for granted. She spoke to each one of her fans and didn't try to push them along. Over all, a very cool lady.

I did fairly well at the signing. This time around I even sold books to people who aren't my friends, hahahaha. It was neat to see some people actually recognize my name(okay two people, but hey, it's a start!) without me badgering them to come over to my table.

I just need to keep things in perspective, someday I'll have a line of fans waiting to see me. . .I hope!

Friday, August 04, 2006

I put the "ass" in class

Still waiting on pictures from my friends. I have got to get a better camera so I can take my own damn pictures. . .

Okay, so I'll talk about going from my sister's house to the conference. I don't need pictures for that. . .

On Monday, my gorgeous niece turned 18 and to celebrate, I took her shopping. And boy did we shop. Oh my, did we shop. I got some very cool clothes and had an excellent time bonding with my baby. *sniff*

Because of all that shopping though, my suitcase was PACKED. Now, I had picked my biggest suitcase and only filled it halfway plus I brought an extra carry on bag that was empty just so I'd have room to bring everything back without going over the 50 pound weight limit on the plane. Last year coming home from Reno I had to unload several books at the check in counter. Very embarrassing. After all my shopping I was out of extra space and looking to ship stuff home.

Instead, my sister and I switched suitcases and she gave me a large one to load all my things into. Now I have two full size suitcases to bring, yikes!
Also, I stopped by the local Publix and picked up a 24 pack of water and a 12 pack of diet coke. I also picked up a cooler to keep those things in instead of using one of the garbage cans this time around. Unfortunately, the cheapest cooler I could find had NASCAR emblazened across it on both sides.

After lunch with my sister at her job, she hired a town car and driver to take me to the hotel in downtown Atlanta. It was awesome! A nice comfy ride, Abaas the driver was wonderful, and we didn't hit any traffic. What could be better?

What could have been better would have been to not be carrying a NASCAR cooler, a 24 pack of water and a 12 pack of soda into the frigging Marriot Marquis! I must have looked like the biggest hick!

Luckily for me I have great friends who didn't care that I, as my friend Kris Star put it, "put the ass in class".

Go me! hahahahha

Hope to have pictures for you soon so I can tell you about signing next to the awesome Kim Harrison and her great husband later on. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Down South

I'm sorry for not posting sooner, I had planned on regaling you with tales of my exploits at RWA, but I don't have any pictures yet, and I kind of want to put those up with my stories so the tell all blog will have to wait.

In the meantime, I can tell you about going down south for this northener. My sister lives about an hour outside of Atlanta so I went down a few days early to spend some time with her and her family first.

My niece turned 18 *sob* on that Monday, so it worked out perfectly. I couldn't wait to get there and see everyone for a few days.

Let me just tell you, there's a reason they call it Hotlanta.


I stepped out of the airport with my baggage to wait for my sister to pick me up and I felt like something big licked me. Now we've been having a heat wave in CT with temperatures in the upper 90's and high humidity, but it was nothing like this.

This was like trying to breathe water. Hot water. Thick, hot water. I broke into a sweat just standing there in the shade.

How do people live like that on a regular basis? I know everyone says that everything is air conditioned down there, but what if you have to walk the dog or do yard work? My niece actually went RUNNING in that weather. I got light headed walking around the house. and this was at 7:00!!!

What about the road construction crews? Or firefighters or cops? My eyeballs almost roasted inside my head and I was wearing shorts and a tank top the whole time!

It kind of makes winter look damn attractive. . .
Remind me of that when I'm whining about it being so freaking cold and snowy here in four months, hahahahaha

Okay, hopefully I'll have pictures for you tomorrow!